Iran considers barring access to nuclear sites in response to assassination of top scientist

Our Foreign Staff
·2 min read
The coffin of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is carried through a shrine in Mashhad, Iran - WANA NEWS AGENCY /VIA REUTERS 
The coffin of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is carried through a shrine in Mashhad, Iran - WANA NEWS AGENCY /VIA REUTERS

Iran was weighing its response Sunday to the killing of its top nuclear scientist, which it blames on arch-foe Israel, as his body was taken to Shiite shrines ahead of being buried.

Two days after Mohsen Fakhrizadeh died following a firefight between his guards and unidentified gunmen outside Tehran, parliament called in a statement for international inspectors to be barred from nuclear facilities.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council usually handles decisions related to the country's nuclear programme.

President Hassan Rouhani has stressed the country will seek its revenge in “due time” and not be rushed into a “trap”.

Israel says Fakhrizadeh was the head of an Iranian military nuclear programme, the existence of which the Islamic republic has consistently denied.

His body arrived in the northeastern holy city of Mashhad late Saturday and was taken to the shrine of Imam Reza for prayers and a ceremonial circling of the tomb, state news agency IRNA reported.

On Sunday, Iran's parliament held a closed session to “investigate the assassination,” ISNA news agency reported.

In an op-ed on Sunday, the ultra-conservative Kayhan daily called for strikes on Israel if it is “proven” to be behind the assassination.

It called for the port city of Haifa to be targeted “in a way that would annihilate its infrastructure and leave a heavy human toll”.

That will “certainly achieve deterrence, since the US and the Zionist regime ... are in no way ready to fight a war,” it added.

On Sunday, parliament said the “best response” to Fakhrizadeh's assassination would be to “revive Iran's glorious nuclear industry” by halting the voluntary implementation of the additional protocol, a document which under the 2015 accord prescribes more intrusive inspections of Iran's nuclear facilitates.

In a statement following its meeting, the legislature said the killing showed that Israel, the US and their allies had become “brazen” in their “terror and sabotage” against Iran.

But the spokesman for Iran's atomic energy organisation, Behrouz Kamalvandi, told IRNA on Saturday that the issue of inspectors' access “must be decided on at high levels” of the Islamic republic's leadership.